We meet all the characters that will grow and change in many years to come including the dowdy best friend Willow in her most fabulous dress ever. Willow: “I don’t actually date a whole lot…” Me: “That’s because you’re a lesbian!” Spoilers! Xander, whose abysmal line readings make me want to kill myself: “You forgot yourrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr stake?” Yet, it’s pretty tame compared to how much I’ll begin to hate him later. And Joyce. Oh, Joyce. Worst. Mom. Ever. And I know people love Joyce and I think the first time I watched this show, she didn’t get on my nerves that much but she really doesn’t try that hard to understand her teenage daughter, does she? Buffy is a pretty self-reliant kid. Sure she burns down the gym and gets into fights…but if Joyce weren’t so blind, she might see why. True, it’s a fault that many Sunnydale residents face but I just can’t forgive lines like: “And honey… try not to get kicked out,” - just inexcusable when you’re dropping your kid off for her first day of school. We’ll revisit why Joyce is the worst in future episodes but now we turn to Angel. We don’t know who this mysterious stranger is, yet all signs pretty much point to douchebag. “to kill them…to kill them all..” Again, this is hardly the fault of the creators…because to their (and Joss’s) credit, Angel does develop layers later…but really? Was this the direction that Angel was going to go? And is there much to say about Jesse? The “best friend” of Xander and Willow’s that we’ll never ever speak of again… Cordelia – who has the best lines of the episode but hasn’t really found her place yet. And finally Buffy, played by SMG here with actual curves. A girl, we’ll find in episode one who just wants to fit in – to find a group of friends and be “normal”. But she never will be( Spoilers!) and that’s what we love about her. It’s also why we identify with her so much. My biggest beef with this episode, though, was the scene between Giles and Buffy which will be featured in the section: CROSSFIRE! So I know I point out many problems with this pilot, but the truth is, it brought me in and slowly made me a fan.
If I were coupling this episode with its second parter “The Harvest”, I may give it a 5 stake rating but for now: 4.5 Stakes.
- Hey, remember when Sarah Michelle Gellar wasn't a stick? [Amen! - D]
- I had completely forgotten that David Boreanaz used to be only a guest star. Yay! That means Season One will be less saturated with him.
- Okay, fine, he was incredibly hot. Still awful.
- For the record, I think Daniel is being Way Harsh Tai on poor Nicky Brendan. If you watch his face as he trips over his words continuously in his first scene with Buffy, he's doing a lot of subtle honest work very quickly. Not bad for a ballplayer.
- "But the fun part of the Black Plague was ..." - this is an amazing throwaway line by Buffy's history teacher. It almost made it as my favorite line, except that I use Cordelia's line in real life. Real life wins.
- See, we're mocking names like Buffy and Aphrodesia ... but can we talk about Pilot Inspektor and Apple and Blue Ivy for a moment?
- Shenanigans! Giles must be a shitty librarian. The library's not that big, and yet he proceeds to have a shouting match about all of Buffy's deepest darkest slayeriest secrets while Xander is in the stacks? He didn't notice? Giles is so fired (spoiler!).
- I actually kept twitching because I love Tony Head and all his ways.
- Shenanigans! Why does Buffy have the bible seller dress anyway? Did she lose a bet? [And that leather outfit! - D] Actually Daniel, I'm willing to buy the dominatrix garb. We know she loves her leather.
- I know Joss likes to kill people, but the real reason Jesse had to die? We don't need two Xanders.
- Luke talking in scripture-speak is like that annoying kid in middle school who quoted musical theater lyrics all the ... oh. I'll go hide now.
Daniel: The one-Starbucks town ... with a University!
Zelda: Hey, my town had no Starbucks ... and a University!
Daniel: I understand that a series premiere needs some sort of exposition but it sort of happens at the expense of making Giles seem incompetent. There will be many instances of this in upcoming episodes that will make me tear my hair out wondering why the not-mentioned-yet council would send him to train the only active slayer…but I’m getting ahead of myself. The part that irked me the most is when Giles asks Buffy if “the young man” will rise. Buffy explains that in order to turn a vamp, you each have to suck each other’s blood…it’s “a whole sucking thing”….which…great, if he were asking for an explanation of how Vampires work…and since he is a Watcher…he already knows that. And again, I understand that the audience needs to know how vamps in this particular sci-fi universe work but 1) they could have had her explain it to someone who knows nothing about vamps like Xander or Willow and B) It didn’t answer his question. She doesn’t know if “unnamed first victim of the series” fed on the vamp or not and can’t be completely sure that he will or won’t rise again. She runs into that problem a few times…most notably with “Theresa” in season 3. Shenanigans!
Zelda: While I take your point about the "whole sucking thing" - she really didn't seem to check (and how would she be able to tell?), BUT we don't see her leave the scene. We only see her find the body and the bite marks. It's possible she spent a good solid bonding twenty minutes with Dead Guy, chatting about this and that, checking for flecks of dried blood in his gums. WE DON'T KNOW. But what I'm doing right now is trying to write in non-existent scenes, so we'll leave it at that.
To your other point, about why Giles is having this Blatantly Expository Dialogue with Buffy about things any Slayer or Watcher worth her or his salt should know, I say this - Giles and Buffy barely know each other. What does Giles know about Buffy? She's a blonde LA girl - a perky insolent slang-talking American - who seems entirely uninterested in his many back-breaking books on the occult. She got her last watcher killed. She burned down the gym at her old school - not covert behavior at all - and got kicked out. Does Giles have any reason to trust that Buffy understands the first thing about her heritage? He's testing her. He needs to feel out this tiny stranger whose burden it is to save the world, and see if she actually has the stones to do it. ("Oh, I got the stones! I've got a whole bunch of ... stones.") He needs to try and clarify what his job will be in all this as her Watcher - start from scratch, or pick up from where Donald Sutherland left off?
Daniel: "Good to know you've seen the softer side of Sears." - Cordelia
Zelda: "What is your childhood trauma?" - Cordelia
- The introduction of ... everyone.
- Buffy is from LA. She burned down the gym at her old high school. Because it was full of vampi - asbestos.
- Giles gives the Slayer Duty speech. This will be used later. A lot.
- Besides Vampires, Giles warns us we will face zombies, werewolves, incubi, succubi. We think he lied a bit on the last two, but we get his point.
- Luke is the first of two roles that Brian Thompson will play in the series.
- First appearance of Darla, The Master, Luke, and Principal Flutie.
Voiceover - Creepy B-Movie Guy
Dead Humans - 1
Dead Undeads - 1
Giles Unconscious - 0
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 0
Buffy Breaks a Door - 1
Evil Reveal - 1 (Darla)
Shenanigans Called - 3
Apocalypse Called - 0